Souths bubble bursts as Bulldogs reign supreme

Round 4 - Full Time :: April 6th, 2007 Bulldogs 34 defeated Rabbitohs 10

The Bulldogs have put to an end South Sydney's unbeaten start to the season, hammering them 34-10 tonight at Telstra Stadium in front of a record crowd of 34,315.

In what looked to be a real arm wrestle of a match, the Bulldogs flexed their muscle late in the game, with a fifteen minute period of sheer dominance in defense and attack that opened the game right up.

It was an even game for the first fifty minutes, until sustained pressure on Souths line saw Kane Cleal dive over in the 57th minute for the first try of the second half. Five minutes later, some lovely expansive play from the Dogs saw the ball fed through the hands of playmakers Daniel Holdsworth and Ben Roberts, and finally into Daryl Millard who took advantage of a four-on-two overlap and raced away to score in the corner. Winger Hazem El Masri scored the final try for the Dogs, touching down in the 70th minute, following some beautiful offloads from Luke Patten and Millard in the lead-up.

A bit of Nathan Merritt brilliance grabbed Souths a consolation try at the death. Merritt chipped for himself, chased through, and forced the ball in-goal in a brilliant solo effort that unfortunately came too late in the game for Souths.

The first half was a much more evenly fought contest, with Souths drawing first blood through fullback David Peachey, after lovely lead-up work from halfback Joe Williams. Williams ran down the blindside on the last tackle, drew two defenders, and then passed on the inside to Peachey, who used his footwork to get away from Andrew Ryan, and race away to touch down beside the sticks.

The Bulldogs hit back five minutes later when Trent Cutler scored the first of his two tries for the night. Chasing through a grubber on the last, Cutler ducked in beside Souths winger Paul Mellor, who was willing the ball dead, and grounding the ball for the Bulldogs first points of the night. Cutlers second came fifteen minutes later, where with seemingly nothing on, and under heavy attention from Souths defenders, Cutler somehow forced his way over the line to score. El Masri slotted both the conversions, as well as a penalty goal in between, to give us our half time score of 14-6.

It was a good night for El Masri, top scoring with one try and seven goals, for a personal tally of 18 points.

Kickoff: 07:30 PM Venue: Telstra Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Crowd: 34,315

South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 Tries: David Peachey, Nathan Merritt Goals: Joe Williams (1/2) Canterbury Bulldogs 34 Tries: Trent Cutler (2), Kane Cleal, Daryl Millard, Hazem El Masri Goals: Hazem El Masri (7/7)

League Unlimited Live Commentary

Welcome to Telstra Stadium for this blockbuster Good Friday clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and The Bulldogs. Both teams are as per programme, with Souths fielding the same 17 for the fourth week in a row, while the Bulldogs have Sonny Bill Williams back from suspension, but have lost Mark O'Meley to suspension. It's a perfect night for football. The air is a bit chilly, but the sky is clear and there's no signs of rain.

In Jersey Flegg, the Bulldogs absolutely romped it home, winning 36-blot.

0 min: And the Bulldogs get us underway!

2 min: After a fantastic set by the Dogs, they give away the first penalty of the match whilst trying to keep Souths contained within their 10. Souths have the ball on halfway.

5 min: The Bulldogs have just blown a certain try. Short passes and offloads from the Bulldogs forward pack has the Souths defense in sixes and sevens. Chris Armit find himself with the ball and a free run to the line, but in a desperate tackle, loses the ball over the line.

6 min: A penalty for an apparent strip has given Souths possession 10 out from the Bulldogs line. Best attacking opportunity of the match so far.

8 min: Great pressure from the Rabbitohs, but lovely defense by the Dogs - unlucky not to score.

9 min: A lovely offload from Paul Mellor put Jeremy Smith through a gaping hole in the Dogs defense on Souths 30. Smith made a long break down to the Dogs 40, where he offloaded to Nathan Merritt in support. Merritt then lost the ball in a lovely cover tackle from the Dogs defense.

11 min: PENALTY COUNT: Souths 3-1

13 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs And Souths strike first blood. Joe Williams ran the ball on the blindside on the last, and attracted 2 defenders. Williams then offloaded to Peachey, who used his footwork to get around Ryan on the inside, and runs away to score beside the posts. Conversion attempt by Joe Williams successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-0

16 min: Souths looking to be adventurous with their plays, unfortunately that last one came undone for them with an offload from Vagana being knocked on by Kidwell. Dogs have the ball on Souths 20.

18 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Bulldogs Try...

18 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs A lovely grubber from Holdsworth has been touched down by Trent Cutler in the corner. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. 6 all

21 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs Back to back penalties conceded from Souths have given the Dogs a gift two points to go to an 8-6 lead. Canterbury Bulldogs 8-6

25 min: Fantastic goal-line defense from the Bulldogs has seen them survive back-to-back attacking sets from Souths.

26 min: Fantastic stuff. Souths aren't doing much wrong but they just can't get through the defense. Don't know how long the Dogs can keep up that defense.

27 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Bulldogs Try... Peachey looks to have lost the ball in a two-man wrestling tackle, with Ryan on the spot to dive on the ball for the try.

27 min: NO TRY - Scrum The video ref threw the decision back down to referee Hayne, who comes up with the decision of Bulldogs scrum, 10 out from Souths line. Hayne has ruled that Peachey lost the ball after held was called.

32 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Bulldogs Try...

32 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs An attempted cut-out pass from Holdsworth out to Cutler on the wing with a 3 on 2 overlap went to ground before reaching Cutler, giving the Souths defense time to regroup. With the play seemingly dead, Cutler puts on the footwork, and touches down in the corner despite heavy attention from two Souths defenders. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 14-6

35 min: INJURY - Souths Paul Mellor has come off the field and gone straight up the tunnel to the dressing sheds.

38 min: After receiving a penalty and great possession deep in Dogs territory, Souths have been robbed of a genuine scoring opportunity after a flat ball at worst was called forward by the touch judge.

40 min: And it's halftime in what has been a fairly even, and very entertaining, contest thus far. The Bulldogs leading 14-6.

HALF TIME: It's been a tightly fought game, and there isn't a lot between these teams, regardless of the score. The Bulldogs forward pack has been the more dominant of the two, however it is Souths willingness to throw the ball around that is keeping them in the game. Both teams have had genuine scoring opportunities, with Souths being let down by the last tackle kick on most occasions. The Dogs have been more disciplined with their attacking plays, and have taken full advantage of most of them. However, poor decisions from the referees have robbed the Dogs of one certain try, so Souths can consider themselves lucky that they are only down by 8.

Dogs looking better than they have all year. There hasn't been a great deal between the teams and Souths have been unlucky at times. The Dogs have a terrible 2nd half record over the past few years and need to push on if they're going to hold. Conversely if Souths manage to step up, they could run away with it... Dogs by 50 ;()

40 min: And Joe Williams gets the second half underway!

43 min: Souths get the first penalty of the second half, with the Bulldogs tacklers up around the head of Shane Rigon. Souths have the ball 20 out from the Dogs line.

46 min: CROWD - 34,315

50 min: It's been an even half so far, with both teams completing their sets, getting to their kicks, and staying strong in defense.

54 min: Shayne Hayne certainly is having a Barry Crocker tonight, awarding Souths a penalty after he found a high shot from Sonny Bill Williams. Only problem is, Williams' arm got caught on a teammates shoulder and didn't even look to make contact with the Souths player.

55 min: Roberts has looked better than the first 3 rounds, but he still lacks creativity. His kicking has lacked intensity and he hasn't taken on the line or posed a threat. I think its time for Sherwin to come back.

57 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs A lovely cut-out ball from Dallas McIlwain lands right onto the chest of Kane Cleal, who loses his footing, falls to the ground, then reaches out to score. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 20-6

59 min: Bulldogs looking to gain the upperhand in this match. Souths need to score next if they are to remain in the contest, however are having a hard time finding their way through or around the Dogs defense.

62 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Lovely long passes from Holdsworth and Roberts stretches Souths defense, in the end giving the Dogs a 4 on 2 overlap, with Daryl Millard racing away to score in the corner. This game now looks to be well beyond Souths, their fairytale run seemingly coming to an end. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 26-6

65 min: It's all coming undone for Souths, losing possession on their own 35, and inviting the Dogs to pile more points on.

70 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Following a knock-on by Dean Widders down on the Dogs 30, the Dogs immediately go on the counter-attack, working the ball some 40 metres downfield before Souths actually stop the play. 5 tackles later, and some lovely offloads from Patten, then an absolute beauty from Millard, sees El Masri grab the spoils. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 32-6

74 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs El Masri lines up, and guides the ball between the sticks from 30 out, taking his personal tally for the night to 18 points. Canterbury Bulldogs 34-6

74 min: First time in a long time the dogs have gained intensity in a second half performance. The forwards have fired up in the absence of O'Meley, with Mason and Sonny Bill giving it everything. Souths have given it their all, but still have a long way to go in this competition. The scoreline doesn't do this battle justice; Souths have played well, but the Dogs have just been too strong.

79 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Souths grab a try at the death through none other than Nathan Merritt, who continues to show his freaking try scoring ability. Receiving the ball from Widders on the halfway line, Merritt ran to the defense on the 40, then chipped over the top, chasing through to regather and score. Conversion attempt by Joe Williams unsuccessful. Canterbury Bulldogs 34-10

80 min: And it's full time here at Telstra Stadium. Souths put up a good fight, but ultimately were no match for the Bulldogs, who won the match 34-10 in front of a bumper crowd. Player of the Match 3 Points: Reni Maitua (Bulldogs) 2 Points: Willie Mason (Bulldogs) 1 Point: Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs)